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Ask Ethan: Is Dark Matter The ‘Aliens’ Of Astrophysics?

25 Nov 2017, 15:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: Is Dark Matter The ‘Aliens’ Of Astrophysics?
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HAWC with its wide field of view sees the pulsars Geminga and PSR B0656+14 as broad beacons of gamma rays that appear much larger in angular extent than Earth’s moon (which is shown for scale). Image credit: HAWC Collaboration.If you can’t explain the astrophysical signal that you see and cry ‘dark matter,’ chances are you’re not thinking hard enough.Despite our knowledge of the laws of physics, and the successes of the Standard Model and General Relativity, there are a number of observations out there in the Universe that still lack a complete explanation. From star formation to high-energy cosmic rays, the Universe still has its mysteries. Although we’ve discovered a great deal about space, we still don’t know it all. For example, we know that dark matter exists, but we don’t know what it’s properties are. Does that mean we can attribute anyunknown effect to dark matter? An anonymous reader wants to know.There are SO many things I want to know… dark matter. The standard statement: [it] doesn’t interact with matter except gravitationally. So, much like the old conundrum about Black holes — something that sucks up everything — how DO you find it? Then I read it is detectable ...

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